By Carrie Pallardy
Full article at Becker’s ASC Review
This past year was a tumultuous time for healthcare and all of its specialties. From patient engagement and technology to remaining independent, four gastroenterologists discuss what they believe were the top issues for their field in 2014.
Scott R. Ketover, MD, AGAF, President and Chairman of the Board, Digestive Health Physicians Association, President, Minnesota Gastroenterology (Plymouth): One of the biggest gastroenterology stories of 2014 is the creation of a new voice for independent gastroenterology practices.
This February, 11 GI practices from across the country formed the Digestive Health Physicians Association (DHPA), a trade association whose mission is to promote the high quality, cost-efficient and integrated care furnished by independent gastroenterology practices. As 2014 comes to a close, DHPA has grown to 39 practices in 23 states whose more than 1,000 physicians care for nearly 2 million patients each year.
As impressive as the growth has been, it’s DHPA’s out-of-the-gate action that makes the organization worthy of a “top-story” moniker in 2014. DHPA, working as a complement to the tri-societies, was part of a team effort in defending colonoscopy payments from significant cuts that had been anticipated and in supporting CMS’s change in the definition of colorectal cancer screening test to include anesthesia that is furnished in conjunction with screening colonoscopies.
On the legislative front, DHPA recognized a serious threat in California to the integrated model of care delivered by independent medical practices and came to the support of GI and other physician specialty practices to defeat a state Senate bill that, if passed, would have eliminated protection for in-office anatomic pathology, advanced imaging, radiation therapy and physical therapy services in California.
On Capitol Hill, physicians from the member practices introduced themselves to lawmakers and added our voice to the growing chorus of physicians educating policymakers as to why the in-office ancillary services exception (IOASE) to the federal Stark Law is essential to safeguarding high quality, affordable care in the physician office setting. Our policy position to preserve the IOASE is supported by 32 physician specialty organizations and the American Medical Association. Beyond the specific support to preserve the IOASE, a growing body of data demonstrates the importance of protecting care delivered in physician offices and independent ASCs as an alternative to care that is typically more costly in the hospital setting.
In its inaugural year, DHPA set out to complement the great work that the tri-societies do on behalf of gastroenterologists, while offering something new — an organization that focuses laser-like on the challenges and opportunities facing gastroenterologists who care for patients in independent practices. I’m proud that in our first 10 months of existence we have created a voice for independent gastroenterology practices that promotes the high quality, cost-efficient care that physicians in DHPA member practices furnish to millions of patients across the country.